Mary Theresa Smith, “Mary Theresa O’Hearn,” age 86 of Racine, Wisconsin, died Sunday, May 5, 2013, in her home. Mary was born on March 3, 1927, in Boston, Massachusetts, the second child of John Joseph and Mary Theresa O’Hearn.
She is survived by her husband, Lawrence W. Smith, M.D., and their eight children: Jeffrey Michael Smith of Glendale, Wisconsin; Brian David Smith and his wife, Julia, of Miami Beach, Florida; Mark Phillip Smith and his wife, Daphen, of Cape Coral, Florida; Pamela Jeanne de Butler and her husband, Ralph, of Mesa, Arizona; Lawrence William Smith of Racine, Wisconsin; John Charles Smith and his wife, Brenda, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico; Jaqueline Marie Hummel of Shaker Heights, Ohio; and Robert Anthony Smith and his wife, Lori, of Brookfield, Wisconsin. She is also survived by her grandchildren and relatives: Ryan and Rebecca Smith, Conall and Morgan de Butler, Joshua and Emily Smith, Charles and Claire Hummel, Chloe, Parker, Madison and Jacob Smith, Cole Smith, Andres and Gabrielle Hernandez, and James McDonnell. She is survived by her siblings, Hubert O’Hearn and Rita O’Hearn.
Mary was from Boston, Massachusetts, where she had a career as a nurse. She made a bet with another nurse that she would be the first one to dance with the handsome young Doctor Smith from Wisconsin, which, of course, she won. She met her future husband, Lawrence, while working at Boston City Hospital. After an excruciatingly long five-year courtship, they married and she moved to Racine, Wisconsin, where Dr. Smith started his surgical practice. She was married to Lawrence W. Smith on November 11, 1952, in Boston, Massachusetts.
The two moved to San Diego, California, while Lawrence served first at Camp Pendleton and later in Korea. It was there Mary took a class in tailoring and began her life-long passion for sewing. She generously shared her talents, making clothes for her children and was particularly famous for sewing swimsuits for all her friends at the Racine YMCA.
When the last of her children was in school, Mary began exercising. She initially took up jogging, but after getting tendonitis and breaking both her ankles, she started swimming. Although she insisted that all eight of her children learn to swim, Mary never took a lesson. She made up for her lack of speed and poor form with sheer doggedness and swam as often as possible before her health began to fail.
Mary was known for her sense of humor. Even when her health was failing, she came up with wry comments and her laughter was infectious. She was always there when her friends needed her and was known to bring along little goodies and jewelry, which she loved. She had a beautiful voice and she loved using it.
Although she raised eight kids, she often said she wasn’t cut out to be a mother. Her children would have to disagree. She “helped” create countless school projects and drove to un-ending music lessons, recitals, sports activities, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, haircuts, recitals, plays and the occasional emergency room visit. She bought groceries by the cartload and cooked practically every night, regardless of how she felt. If one of her kids got threatened, she fought back like a tigress.
She lived a long and full life and left her mark and lots of great memories. She will be missed but not forgotten.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, May 11, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1533 Erie St., with Rev. Steve Varghese officiating. Entombment will follow at Calvary Garden Crypts. Relatives and friends may meet with the family Friday at the funeral home from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday at church from 9:30 a.m. until time of Mass at 10 a.m.
MARESH-MEREDITH & ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888